Purposeful Faith

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When Life Falls on You

When Life Falls

This morning, I walked downstairs and pulled open my cabinet. Bleary-eyed, I reached for a Keurig pod and lamented that the counters weren’t wiped last night. I pull open a drawer. The silverware is askew. Random items are hodge-podged all over the drawer.

Hours later, reach into the cabinet above my computer. Paper nearly falls on my head. This time, rather than trying to shut the door quickly, I stare at it. It looks like a hurricane hit a lawyer’s office. I hate it. I hate myself.

What if someone sees this mess?
What if someone knew behind the white doors of my life,
there is mayhem and mismanagement?

What if someone knew I don’t fold my kids clothes, but just stuff them in drawers? Or that a room in my basement is dedicated to boxes – of piled up junk? Or my garage never fits my cars?

What if someone saw – I look disheveled?

Not enough. Imperfect. Not so good.

What I am inclined to do – is fear: I’ll never be better than me. I’ll never meet the standard I am supposed to. I’ll always have hidden mess. And, for all this, you’ll surely abandon me. Judge me, too.

I hide things.

What fear makes you want to hide? What makes you want to stuff things away?

This mere method marks a woman with shame. Anytime we hide rather than turn towards God and thrive, we abide in shame. It’s simple.

This is why I wrote the book Fear Fighting. I was tired of hiding and running; a girl is never seen when she does this. The core of who God made you to be – is out of sight. Not only this, but the constant shuffling of feet to keep your heart calm and in control, wears on a soul.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Jo. 14:27

If Jesus already left me perpetual peace, I no longer have to live a habitual war…

I don’t have to live in constant fear. The idea thrills me!

Jesus will bind my wounds.
He will release me from the bars that contain me.
He will take what I feel powerless to change and love on it.
He will see my mess, hold it and rework it.
He will accept me no matter what.
He will lead me to new found peace.

I want more. Do you?

Fear Fighting was my desperation cry to God. I wanted to stop trembling with uncertainty so I could walk with certainty into God’s greatest callings. I wanted to leave behind trepidation so I could walk with bold dedication into his purposes. I wanted to exchange jealousy and comparison for the life-charging power of love and grace.

I called out; God answered. I prayed; he healed. I showed him what is behind the doors of my life; he embraced me. I continue this cycle often. This is a fear fight.

Perhaps you discover how God’s perfect love casts out fear in your messy moments. Join the Fear Fighting movement. Order your book today.

Bloggers, there are 3 things you should know:
1. I’d love for you to join the Fear Fighting Writers Contest. Win a publisher, agent or marketing appointment, with my all-star team.

2. Will you bless me? I am trying to get the word out on #Fearfightingbook. Share my 4 Day to Fearless Challenge! Help you readers get fearless. 

3. Join Cheerleaders 4 Christ, if you haven’t. We’ll be giving away a bunch of free stuff in the coming days.

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When You Feel Like a “Problem”

Feel Like a "Problem"

Lately, I’ve been looking like the frumpy mom. It’s time things change.

So, I head to the store and grab a whole bunch of clothes, as if they will radically revamp what is helter-skelter – the stuffed drawers, the haphazard dinners, and my own disheveled look. New pants will fix it all.

I put on the first pair.

But, they’re made wrong. All wrong. I can’t get the dang things over my hips.

I throw them down and grab the next pair, dark jeans. These will do the trick. Except they don’t; they don’t trick anyone. And, that’s the problem. I can see the bulges. Another defective pair! Be gone!

I suck in, lengthen my torso and slightly lean over, as if my moves will grease the fabric. They don’t. The pants move like chalk on sandpaper. They suffocate my insides.

Ugh. It’s not only the pants, my hair looks horrible and my nose looks big too. Plus, these shadows in here are horrendous.

I squint at myself, silently hating – everything.  These pants are all – problems!

Or are they?

What if the problem isn’t the pants?
What if it isn’t this room with dim lights?
What if the problem isn’t fabric,  but  – me?

What if I am more of a mess than I know?

What if these pants that reject me –
are symbolic of a world rejecting me?

What if my inability to look good
represents my incapability to do good in life?

What if I’ll never be more than me?
What if I always fall short?

Ever noticed that when one piece doesn’t fit, if you don’t get it before God, suddenly everything else doesn’t work either?

I inhale.

Will I turn to face him? Will you?

No matter where we stand? In a dressing room? In discouragement? In despair? In frustration? In aggravation? In ruin? In darkness?

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)

God’s dawn is lighting. It is for us. We think it is for others, but it is for us. Right there – in our dark rooms, the spaces that highlight our worst, that feature our folds and that cast bad shadows…

…even in these very places, God says, light is dawning…

For us, those who walk, not perfectly, but willingly, with God.
For us, ones gracious: kind and pleasant to our own selves.
For us, ones compassionate to the colossal shortcomings and massive mess-ups we are on the daily basis.
For us, ones growing in righteousness day-by-day.

And, for others, people we know – are aware of our faults.
For people, who can bust us.
For people, who no doubt can point out our flaws.
For people, who also make mistakes.
For people, who sometimes appear as problems.

God flips the light, in our darkness, as we flip our reactions over to love, peace and faith.

What happens is – through Christ – is we start seeing ourselves in good light.

More Reading:
When you Don’t Feel Gifted
When You Long to Do Something Bad
5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

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Renewing My Mind

I crave being made new.

I have a great desire to be a Size 6 and for firm thighs and flat tummy.  However, why do I equate my physical shape with the depths of my salvation?

They are hardly the same thing.

Somewhere in the twists and turns of thought and belief, I have convinced myself my mind is lacking.  I further the insanity by affirming said ideas when I look in the mirror.  What is this malady of lies I foster and feed?  When did I first believe that my appearance formulated my spirit?  If tomorrow I were to meet with an accident and lost a limb would I believe in Jesus any less?

By no means.

Would a handicap define me as lacking in my belief that Jesus died so that I might walk in the freedom of my salvation?

If this were true, why the Cross…. Continue reading and LINK UP!  

#RaRaLink UP

When You Let God Down

Let God Down

Half my life I lived like this man, saying: “What good thing must I do to reach eternal life?” (Mt. 19:16)

Within my mind, I figured the answer was, “Kelly, fix everything you’re doing wrong.” Jesus responds in a similar fashion to this man, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have…” (Mt. 19:21)

If I want to be perfect, go and offer more play time to my children.
If I want to be perfect, go and make better dinners.
If I want to be perfect, go to the store and buy tableware for get-togethers.
If I want to be perfect, go and find God and stop feeling guilty.
If I want to be perfect, go to Africa or India and be a missionary.

What do you need to do to be perfect?
What are you constantly criticizing yourself about?

Jesus goes on, “It’s harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Mt. 19:24)

I know a person who feels so guilty about money. Their money makes them feel like they’ve been caught red-handed and God will slap them for having it. They nearly hate themselves for it. I am sure, they’ll probably hand it all out the very second before their last breath, just to make up for the guilt of holding on to it so long. Just to make sure God knew, they didn’t really need it after all.  I think they’ve missed the point.

But, who am I to judge? I am guilty too. I am just as rich…

I am rich in my self-sufficiency.
I am rich with my desire to manage daily happenings.
I am rich in comfort.
I am rich with my judgments of others.
I am rich with own opinions.
I am rich with the desire to have earthly security.

I am hardly poor and deeply in need of Christ. I am hardly poor and wanting the fullness of him in every moment. I am hardly poor and wanting less of my flesh and more of his Spirit.

I am so rich. So rich, I feel Jesus might not like me anymore. You’ve ever been there? Feeling so off course that you’ll land shipwrecked and stuck frostbitten in Antartica without a God to save you?

Jesus’ disciples finally asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus said, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God, everything is possible.” (Mt. 19:26)

And, there it is. Like the ending to an epic movie – in sweeps the hero, the rescuer, the knight who saves the day – it is Jesus. He knows what we are without him is — ruined. But, he also knows, who we are with him is – rescued.

Jesus knew we’d never be perfect.
Jesus knew we all act – rich.

And this is the point. Jesus’ on-earth arrival points to the fact – there is none perfect, nor rich, except Jesus. Yet, in the gap of our wealth, we have available the wealth of Jesus. When we accept it, we intercept spiritual riches earth could never muster.

Jesus hands out what we believed the world never could. Jesus changes what we figured was written in stone. Jesus blasts through barriers, even when the barriers appears like our own wretchedness.

Underneath everything, Savior saves; he brings the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, not to enforce Christian guilt, but to relieve it.

Inhale. Jesus knows failings; he releases them in the sight of his grace. And, what we are left with is not only an amazing ending, but an amazing here and now. A place we can rest.

Related Reading:
When Life Comes Down On You
When You Feel Abandoned By God
5 Personal Vulnerability Points That the Devil Attacks

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

On My Going Dark + 4 Solutions to Bad Enemy Assaults

Enemy Assaults

We all have Bonnie Tilley to thank for this post. She said she wanted to hear the story. Here goes: Sometimes you get doing something so big with God, the one who is anti-God doesn’t like it so much.

We normally don’t even realize this is the case. Why?

Because we figure:

  1. Loving someone isn’t big enough for Satan to oppose.
  2. Praying for someone can’t really be that valuable.
  3. Deciding to finally be repentant and obedient doesn’t add up to too much.

But, oh no, friends, this kind of dedicated obedience to God is just what is opposed. It is just what the enemy wants to squelch before it takes off and down the track. He wants to see it go up in flames, because when you move where God is – and he doesn’t want you to meet each other. He’s against that.

So, I was opposed. I know it’s so. I have this book coming out, Fear Fighting. Savior God used it to save me. Writing it, with him, released my soul from the war-torn barracks of fear. This book somehow became a peace pilgrimage with God; it saved my heart and medevacked me out of the heart throbbing places of tension, turmoil and tumultuous living. It’s no joke.

This is why I know you – not getting my daily emails for 2 days – was a mission of the enemy. This is why I know the other problems bubbling up in the last two days are also his approach. This is why I know, today, the foggy head and throbbing headache was more than a random occurrence. This is why I know my site going down was intentional. This is why I know I must be making some spiritual progress.

There is always more than meets the eye.  Let this fact meet your eye, right now.

Behind the scenes of your problems, is often – the problem-maker. You can’t see him. But, he’s working.

What are you up against?
What is trying to get you to move away from God and into a self-focused, self-preservation attitude?

Consider it for a moment.

You see, I was standing firm on Jesus. I was sure. Sure, doubly sure, the Lord, My God, was going to free hearts through this book. Sure, he would get all the glory. Sure,  beyond a shadow of a doubt, He had great plans for me. Satan hates people “sure” about Jesus. If you get “sure” about Jesus, Satan will surely send something to throw you off.

4 Ways the Enemy Attacks:

  1. Out of left field. If you’ve learned a new way to stand firm on Jesus, He’ll aim to hit you from a new direction, you’d never expect. What are we to do?

SOLUTION: We’re to expect the unexpected and then get protected with the armor of God.

2. Through the words of a person. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has spoken an unfriendly word that has lived on in the echo-chamber of my mind. It resounds as the ultimate form of discouragement.

SOLUTION: The only way to combat it is to take God’s truth and to wield it with reckless abandon.

3. Through our own fleshly desires.
“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  (Matthew 16:21-23)

SOLUTION:  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:2)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Ro. 12:2

4. Via Blocked Plans. 
For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. (1 Thess. 2:18)

SOLUTION: Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Ps. 37:5

So, here I am today, very much still well. I am as well as I always was. I am as joyful as I always was. Because, when you realize who is for you – it doesn’t so much matter what is coming against you.

I have the conqueror, the victor and the King on my side. So do you. Dumb little gnat-like issues won’t get me down. Don’t let them get you down either. By his love, abounding in you, you are on to something…

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that you are greater, higher and mightier than anything that comes against me. I will rest in you, I will trust in you and I will follow you. Keep me keenly aware of what is coming against me, so that when it does I can find my strength in you, once again. Amen.

More Reading:

Finding Renewal in Christ
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty
When Prayer Goes Unanswered

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Change The Face of Your Problems

Face of Your Problems

My face. It must speak a thousand words. Words like, my day was bad, I no longer feel like a good mom, I am dead-tired and ready to pass out.

I need not say a word, my husband simply looks at me for a picture of my previous 9-hours. I guess, if I look down, it was not a good day. If I tighten my lips, it was a horrible day. If I run up to him with a smile, it was a fantastic day.

I think our face tells more about us than we know. Two days ago, I looked into a girlfriend’s eyes. She was smiling on the outside, yet her eyes were droopy sad. I could tell something was wrong.  Some days, when wait at a stop light, I stare out my window at the cars turning in front of me. They don’t realize it, but almost everyone is frowning. I guess the majority people’s days aren’t going so well.  Sad. I do like the look my son gives his sister – its an under-cover smile. I think he’s proud of her.

I like that look.

What look do you convey?

I want my insides to project an outward love of Christ.
I want what God is doing in me to outshine through me.

I wonder if it does?

Just recently, I read about Moses. He and God were tight: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his best friend.” (Ex. 33:11)

I love those words. There is a sweet familiarity and comfort between Moses and God. It feels easy. Unforced. Natural. To me, it sounds like an everyday, I-want-to-meet-you kind of thing. It sounds welcoming. Relaxed. Connected.

God honors this kind of approach. He brings people who meet with him like this – deeper. He shows them things. He tells Moses, “I Myself will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim the Lord before you…” (Ex. 33:19)

Can you all imagine seeing “all God’s goodness” pass before you?

What an honor! What might that look like? How might that affect you?

Moses couldn’t even look at God straight on; his glory was too much to be seen in that light. But what I love is this – Even though Moses couldn’t see God’s face, Moses face was changed by God’s goodness.

“The skin of Moses’ face shone” so bright, he had to wear a veil around the Israelites.

And this really gets me thinking, you see – be with God – and you’ll be different.
Let his love shine on you – and it’ll no doubt shine upon others.
Face God and see him change your tightly clenched face into a radiant face.

I want this. I want my bad days’ soothed by God’s good love. I want my anxiety, quenched by Him who leaves none thirsty. I want He who is light, to make my countenance bright. I want what I can’t face, to go face-to-face with him who is Peace.

If like Moses, I get before God, if we get before God like this, we’ll never be the same. Those we love won’t be either. Approaching God head-on, accepting his face of love– will change the face of our life, I am convinced.

Prayer:

God, help us get before you. Help us to come to you when trials hit or when fears feel like they may drown us. Bring us into your light, into your peace. Shine your glory upon our face, so we may face the world with your light. Equip us and empower us according to your will. Amen.

More Reading:
When Your Good Intentions Fail
How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong
The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

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When It Appears God Hurt You

God Hurt You

Have you ever felt like you were following through on what God called you to do? But, it seemed he was punishing you?

Perhaps, he’s called you to love a difficult person.
Perhaps, he’s called you to serve in a difficult spot.
Perhaps, he’s called you to wait on him.
Perhaps, he’s called you to stay put in a place you don’t want to.

Paul went to Macedonia saying, “God had called us to preach the gospel (in Macedonia).” (Act 16:10)
There, he cast out a demon in a woman, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18)
Only to land himself in prison when the owners of the woman realized they lost “their hope of making money.” (Acts 16:9)

If I was Paul, I might throw my hands up in the air and say, “Thanks a lot, God. You really know how to send a woman out and then let her down.”

Paul and crew were stripped, flogged, beaten and thrown in jail.

What do you do when it seems God – led you, but now he’s fled you?

It’s easy to feel angry, frustrated and indifferent in this place?

Years back, God called me to start a company. I seeking God with all my heart. I was obedient in the work, diligent in the process and hopeful in prayer, yet it didn’t happen. It tanked so badly, there were tens of thousands of dollars on the line. That was tough.

What is tough place has God called you to?

Here’s how Paul responds, within the walls of his prison: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)

Imagine that? Beaten, wounded and imprisoned, yet still singing, praising and evangelizing…

This act, brings me to a place of pause: What if rather than seeing my disgrace, I believed God, for me, would about-face my situation? 

And, in this I could give praise?

Did Paul believe this?

Did he know his good God would most certainly do a good thing?

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:26)

When we believe in God’s power, his power tools break down high walls. When we are in the center of God’s will, God works a way out for us. When we are worshipping, God is working on our behalf to open doors.

I think Paul believed in the power of God. What if we believed too?

When that person hurts us. God can shake us in love that heals.
When that dream fizzles. God will quake new dreams in us; He has a plan.
When pain surfaces: Through God all things are possible. We will wait.
When we see no way out: God will mine gold in our heart through this.
When we feel bad: Jesus’ forgiveness rattles our soul in unwarranted acceptance that feels like peace.

God will show up and when he does the power of his work – will set you free. Until, then, like Paul, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

Beat Enemy Attacks: 1 Simple Way

Beat Enemy Attacks

I walked. I not only walked, but I felt like I was in that place, that very special place, you only get to once in a while. It is that place where you mind stops thinking about the million and one things it has to do, and it starts thinking of Jesus. That is where I was. Each step was a movement with God and each prayer was one I knew he heard.

I turned the corner and walked next a fence. Still, I honed in on Jesus – his power, his life and his resurrection and what that meant in my life. Peace sat heavy- until, a bulldog scared the living daylights out of me. He was right next to me, moving along the fence, jumping and trying to attack. I jumped in fear. But, then I remembered, that dog can have a loud bark, but he can’t really touch me.  A fence is between us. I am safe. As fast as I was fearful, I returned to being faithful.

Thank you, God.

The enemy jumps on us the same way. He’s ready to bite our heads off. But, what I’ve realized is – the enemy’s bark is worse than his bite when we trust God at his words. He can only bite us if we hop over the fence and enter into his territory. If we get caught up in the sound of his voice. Only then are we destructible and torn apart.

But, if we walk in God’s territory, in places of trust, hope and love, he can’t touch us. Try to scare us he may, but he can’t touch us.

We are protected. We are safe. God puts a shield before us. He puts his armor around us. He places the mind of Christ within us.

When we walk in the Spirit, the enemy can only destroy the flesh. What is spiritual can’t be touched by him, unless we allow it.

It releases us. We don’t have to walk around in fear, afraid of the next catastrophe ready to befall us or the next dog ready to bite our head off. No. We move in faith.

My daughter is afraid of dogs. I lift her high and hold her tight. Nothing can harm her when she is in my arms.

God is doing the same with us. We are lifted above the fray above the mania when we take his words and say, “By golly, I’ll believe those things.”

I’ve been working on this. What I’ve found is – if I can walk with God’s eyes to see, I’ll walk in a way where the enemy lets me be. Each step I take to thwart him, discourages him. Each move I make in faith, is like a fake – where I move left and he moves right and we don’t hit each other. I think it is working.

But, of course, upon reflection, I can see why: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

What if today, rather than living ready to run from attacks, we lived ready to run into the full and unwarranted favor of God? What would it look like if we grabbed his Word and let it work, as if we really believed it? How discouraged might we make the very opposition in life, rising up against us?

God, may we keep our eyes on you. May we keep our gaze steadfast. May we know that nothing can touch us with your armor around us. In you, we are safe. In you, we are full. In you, we are brought to life. Thank you that you are within us and He who is within us is greater than He who is in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

When Life Comes Down On You

Life Comes Down

You. I know you feel sad, down or discouraged that things aren’t going so well.

That person? Yep. They aren’t so much changing.
That dream? Yep. It isn’t so much happening.
That pain? Yep. It isn’t so much going away.
That trial? Yep. It’s very much still there.
That bill? Yep. It’s not going away.

And, there you are in the middle of that rainstorm feeling tossed to and fro. You can nearly feel the pain of things that are going to hit into you. You nearly see the rocks and pebbles heading towards you. Add, the past? It howls with the whipping of regrets of yesteryear.

The power of God moves, you just aren’t sure if it is moving for you.

Do you just lay down and give up? Do you run?

But, run where?

There appears to be no covering, no safety from the onslaught of water falling. There appears to be no parting in the sky.

But, what if, what I saw as doom and gloom, God was working for my good?

I shall give you rains in their season,
so that the land will yield its produce
and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Lev. 26:4

While we see rain, God sees gain.
While we see storms, God sees the seed of new starts.
While we see downpours, God sees the fruit he’ll bear.
While we see darkness, God sees the light that will shine the next day.

God calms calamity and turns it into spiritual prosperity. Believe.

There is more than the eye can see.
There is more than the ear can hear.
Faith is more than your senses can perceive.

There is more than your mind can conceive.

God is higher than your loftiest vision.
God is bigger than your largest memory.
God is not contained within your own perceptions.

Even more, he is good.
Not good sometimes.
Good all the time.
Not good on some days.

Good everyday.
Not just good to other people.
Good to you.

He won’t fail you either.

 

How God is Helping You Work Problems Out

God is Helping You

Imagine if every time you hit a hard time, you had a friend a step ahead of you. Your car broke down?  They were already waiting on-location with the jack. Your mom was in the hospital? Upon your arrival, they stood at the hospital room door with soup. Your landlord just kicked you out of your house? They beat his call by 5 minutes to invite you to stay with them.

You may think one of three things:

  1. This person is the rock-star of all friends.
  2. You can’t live without them.
  3. Only God could do this sort of thing.

On all three counts, you’d be right.

Sadly, there is no person like this. But there’s a God just this way:
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Is. 65:24

God isn’t just in step with our needs, he’s one step ahead.

We call, he’s already answering.
We speak, he’s already working.
What we can’t voice, he’s addressing.

What we’ve been afraid to ask for, he’s hearing.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Ro. 8:26

God doesn’t just hear our prayers, he preemptively steps in front of them. Like a good basketball player, he anticipates where we’re headed and beats us there. The only difference is, rather than blocking us, he gets there to lift us up. He gets there to help us score our goal. God improves our shot.

Have you been negating the love of God, the power of prayer or the worth of praise?

Often, we don’t say thank you for what we can’t see. We don’t say thank you for the disastrous saves never knew. We don’t say thank you for the trials God averted. We don’t say thank you for the small blessings we thought were our work.

Maybe today is the day we do.

Thank you, God, for all you do. You do more than meets the eye. You are working for us, helping us, and freeing us. Thank you that you are leaning into our problems and calling out on behalf of our weakness. Thank you that your all-consuming power is behind us and pushing for our best outcome. Amen.

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